Instagram Stories


Your move Snapchat, Instagram just checked your King.

You’ve probably been enjoying Instagram’s newest feature these past few weeks: Instagram Stories. Seem familiar? That’s because it bears a strong resemblance to the well-known Snapchat Stories. And by strong resemblance, I mean near-identical. This more informal component of Instagram allows users to share both their carefully curated and filtered masterpieces as well as their rapid-fire and fun snippets of the day-to-day life that isn’t “special” enough for the main feed.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom doesn’t deny that the platforms are extremely similar saying, “They [Snapchat] deserve all the credit. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

Facebook and Instagram have made efforts in the past to compete with Snapchat with standalone apps like Poke, Slingshot, and remember Bolt? (Yeah, I didn’t either.) These failed, as users didn’t want to be bothered with an additional app – that’s where Stories succeeds. Stories is integrated into the already-existing and well-loved Instagram app with a simple user interface. They are easily located at the top of the main feed and sorted by your most interacted accounts.

The question is, is this Facebook/Instagram’s way of getting back at Snapchat for not selling back in 2013? Will Stories drive Snapchat users to abandon the platform in favor of a one-size-fits all channel? Time will tell. For now – here’s my take on it.

Instagram Stories is appealing to me both as an avid social media user, and as a Social Media Coordinator. As a new mom, it’s a constant struggle between wanting to share every adorable photo ever of my baby squish, and not wanting to be the dreaded feed over-poster. Instagram has solved this internal battle for me with their release of their Instagram Stories. Now I can share my squishy adoreableness as much as I wish and they stay available to viewers for 24 hours without clogging up the feed. A win-win. And really, who doesn’t want to see a rapid-fire video of baby pictures?

From a business perspective, a new marketing door is opened. Now you can leverage several images and short video clips to create micro-messages to viewers. Create a series of standalone informative posts, or one big story that is made up of smaller components.

While even Instagram’s CEO has admitted the uncanny similarities, what exactly is the same and different about the two Story platforms?

How they’re similar…

  • The stories last for 24 hours with max of 10 seconds of share time per image/video.
  • They images and video are comprised into a slideshow that you can tap through.
  • Everything expires and “disappears” after the 24 hour time period.
  • You can shoot images and video live to upload, or upload from existing content in your camera roll.
  • You can add text, emojis, and filters to your shared content.
  • Individual slides from your Stories can be saved before or after posting them.
  • Followers have to tap into your Story to view it rather than being forced content in a live feed.
  • Replying to Stories is achieved through a swipe up.
  • You can tell who has seen you Story.

How they’re different…

  • Instagram has the Stories listed at the top across your app as you use it whereas Snapchat hosts the Stories on a separate page.
  • On Instagram you can navigate backward and pause user Stories, Snapchat only allows for perpetual forward-moving slides.
  • Instagram provides more variety with editing images with multiple brush sizes for drawing and a larger color palette.
  • Where Snapchat succeeds is with its filters. Instagram doesn’t currently have location filters or selfie lenses which have become highly popular.
  • Snapchat lets you know who betrays your trust by screenshotting those double chins, Instagram keeps quiet on who the traitors might be.
  • While you can’t save your whole Story from Instagram, you can select slides from your Story to share on your permafeed.

Long Story short, (see what I did there?) while Instagram and Snapchat Stories seem essentially the same, with some updates and fine-tuning – Instagram Stories could leap ahead of Snapchat and leave them in the dust. Personally, I find having all of my photo-sharing abilities in one place very appealing. When and if Instagram adapts face-changing filters, I’ll probably delete Snapchat altogether. From a business perspective, even more creative marketing and advertising strategies can bloom with Stories as an option to further create unique shareable content. What are your predictions for the future of Snapchat?

Stay social my friends.